Race for the top

Modi or Rahul? Who can make it?

HORIZONS

MUHAMMAD KAMRAN SHAMSHAD

As the 2014 general elections draw nearer, coalition parties in India like UPA and NDA have girded up their loins and are reaching out to public in their own ways. Both the camps have not so far officially announced their prime ministerial candidates but hints are being given out. While Rahul Gandhi seems to be the choice of Congress-led UPA, BJP-led NDA is mostly in favour of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. Also, while Rahul Gandhi is hardly seen in the news, but his rival, Narendra Modi always makes news, one way or the other.
Modi, who is not seen as a secular leader, is trying hard to project himself fit for the top most job of the country. He is using all the weapons in his armoury. At the start of this year, Modi chose to play ‘development’ card and hence trying to shed the image of a Hindutva leader. But off late, Hindutva agenda, which led him and his party to victory, seems to be back on his cards.
To begin with, Modi, on 26 May, addressed Hindu religious leaders in Uttarakhand and was all praise for them. Then, he chose his confidante Amit Shah, who is currently under judicial bail as one of the accused for encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, his wife and their friend, as the in-charge of Uttar Pradesh, which sends 80 seats to Lok Sabha. And Shah didn’t waste any time in UP. He gave a clarion call for building of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya. And not hard to guess whose language he would have been speaking.
And if it was not enough, Modi, very recently, came out with two back-to-back ‘provoking’ statements which caused the heat across political spectrum. First, in an interview to Reuters, he used ‘puppy’ metaphor to illustrate his melancholy for 2002 Gujarat victims. ‘While driving if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course it is.’
And then, while accusing the rival Congress party of hiding behind the veil of secularism. He used the term ‘burqa’ which is a symbolic of Muslim community, and could have been easily avoided in his statement. But he knows how to keep his voters happy and intact. All these sign clearly show that Modi prefers religious polarization as a poll tactic.
(The author is a New-Delhi based Kashmiri journalist)
skamranmuhammad@gmail.com

Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Jul 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 21 Jul 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 22 Jul 2013 00:00:00 IST




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